The All Blacks have won one of the most respected rugby players in the world with Joe Schmidt ready to join the setup as a selector. things understands.
Schmidt will replace the outgoing Grant Fox on the selection committee and give the All Blacks a big boost after a tough year end.
Schmidt, 56, led Ireland to the top of the world rugby rankings in 2018, coached the Irish twice to win against the All Blacks and has an enormous knowledge of the game in both hemispheres.
The official confirmation of Schmidt’s appointment is expected to arrive in the coming days, things understands.
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Fox has had a long and successful track record as All Blacks Selector and signals that he will cross the finish line after the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
His departure opened the door to Schmidt, who was employed by World Rugby as director of rugby and high performance.
Recently told sources things that Schimdt’s influence was decisive in enforcing a change in the admission rules for World Rugby across the board.
What Schmidt’s new role means for his position in the blues is still unclear.
Auckland-based super rugby club announced last month that Schmidt would be joining as a “part-time support coach” role to help out Leon MacDonald and his coaches.
Regardless, Schmidt’s arrival at the All Blacks will give them new eyes and new thinking in the run-up to the Rugby World Cup.
He will also act as an important sounding board for Foster as he has also experienced the pressure of being head coach of a test team.
Schmidt is widely credited for turning the fortunes of Irish rugby and his attention to detail and high standards have left a strong legacy in Irish rugby.
Ironically, the All Blacks’ first opponent next year will be Ireland, whom they entertain in a three-Test streak next July.
The All Blacks are then likely to fly to South Africa for two tests against the world champions, so Schmidt definitely wants to get started in his new role.
The former Blues assistant coach’s first job will be to brood over Super Rugby Pacific and bring his ideas into the mix with fellow selections Foster and John Plumtree; a high-performance trio that have trained everyone at a high level.
New Zealand rugby is currently doing a review of the year of the All Blacks, but the results won’t be known until late January or early February.
However, Schmidt’s appointment signals that the All Blacks are poised to move into 2022 with some fresh rethinking how their game should be designed.
After the job in Ireland, Schmidt gave family priority but now the chance to join the All Blacks was too good to turn down.
He already has ties to the current All Blacks lineup, having trained alongside Scrum Guru Greg Feek while in charge of Ireland.